2 charged in killing of missing California marijuana dispensary worker – The Mercury News


LOS ANGELES — Two people have been charged in the killing of a Los Angeles marijuana dispensary worker whose body was found in a shallow grave in the Mojave Desert, authorities said Monday.

Juan Carlos Hernandez, a 21-year-old college student from South Los Angeles, disappeared on Sept. 22 and his body was found nearly two months later in a remote area between Barstow and Baker.

Ethan Astaphan, 27, of San Gabriel pleaded not guilty Monday after being charged with murder and Sonita Heng, 20, of Los Angeles pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact.

They were being held on $10 million bail each.

Astaphan faces up to 25 years to life in state prison if convicted. Heng faces three years in prison.

Authorities haven’t released a possible motive or other details about the killing.

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